Sunday, November 2, 2014

Low Country Soup

One of my favorite things ever is a Low Country Boil.  It brings back so many memories of the beach and being with family.  I find myself craving it from time to time but it's not something you would just whip up on any given day.  If you're not familiar with a Low Country Boil, it's just seafood, potatoes, sausage and corn boiled together in a big pot.  When it's done, you lay newspaper on a table and pour everything out.  Everyone stands around and eats.  No utensils required.  It's great!  This is something we would do a lot at our beach house, Windy Point.  It doesn't get much better than digging for your own clams.  We had a really unusually cold first day of November and I wanted to make a big pot of soup.  When I started thinking about what I wanted to make, all of the ingredients from a boil came to mind.  So I thought, why not make a soup with all the things I love about a low country boil?  What could be better! Here's what I came up with:

What you'll need:

Extra virgin olive oil, as needed
1 lb. sausage, andouille, smoked or kielbasa, cut into half moons
2 onions, diced
1 head of garlic, minced
5 ears of corn
12 oz amber beer
28 oz can crushed tomatoes
2 quarts chicken stock
2 cups corn stock
28 oz baby Yukon gold potatoes, unpeeled and quartered
2-3 dozen littleneck clams, scrubbed clean
1 lb. shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 tbsp old bay
1 tbsp Worcestershire
1 tbsp Tabasco 
2 lemons, zest and juice
Salt, as needed
1 bunch of parsley, chopped
1 bunch of scallions, sliced thin

Shrimpin' boats on the Intracoastal Waterway

Windy Point

 Start out by cutting all the corn kernels off of the cobs.  Put the kernels in a bowl and set aside.  Place the cobs in a pot and cover with water.  Let simmer while you're getting the rest of your prep together.

Rinse the clams really well and scrub them with a brush to make sure there isn't any sand on them.

Place the shrimp and clams in bowl and toss with old bay.  Set aside in the refrigerator.

Heat a large pot over medium high heat.  Coat the bottom with olive oil.  When the oil is hot, add the sausage.  Brown it really well then using a slotted spoon, remove it and place on a plate.  Set aside.

Toss out the drippings and add fresh olive oil to the pot, then add the onions.  Season generously with salt.  Cook until the onion is soft and translucent.

Add the corn kernels, garlic and creole seasoning.  Cook for 1-2 minutes more, until the garlic is fragrant.  Deglaze with beer and scrape the brown bits off the bottom of the pan.  Reduce the beer by half.

Strain the corn stock and set aside 2 cups. 

Add the tomatoes, chicken stock, Worcestershire and corn stock to the pot.  Season with salt again and let it come to a simmer.  The corn stock is going to thicken the soup and add nice flavor.

Once the soup is up to a simmer, add the potatoes and lemon zest.  Cover the pot partially with the lid and simmer until the potatoes are tender.

When the potatoes are just about there, add the sausage back to the pot along with the shrimp and clams.  Cover and cook on low until the clams are open.  If any of the clams don't open, throw them out.

Finish the soup with a big handful of parsley and scallions, saving a little for garnish.  Add the lemon juice and Tabasco.

Serve in shallow bowls with some crusty bread or cornbread!

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